Woolly mammoths are common in the fossil record. Unlike most other prehistoric animals, their remains are often not literally fossilised - that is, turned into stone - but rather are preserved in their organic state. This is due in part to the frozen climate of their habitats, and to their massive size. Woolly mammoths are therefore among the best-understood prehistoric vertebrates known to science in terms of anatomy.
Woolly mammoths were not noticeably larger than present-day African elephants. Fully grown mammoth bulls reached heights between 2.8 m (9.2 ft) and 3.0 m (9.8 ft).